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Aries - Double Reign CD (album) cover

DOUBLE REIGN

Aries

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.71 | 36 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second Aries debut evolves lightly from the debut, with leader and multi-instrumentalist Fabio Zuffanti (of Finisterre, La Maschera di Cera and Hostsonaten fame )weaving a music platform for Simona Angioloni's spirited vocal gymnastics, a haunting voice that incorporates tinges of opera , jazz and folk to her usual crystalline pipes. The big progression here is the drum kit being now manned by Davide Guidoni of Tapobran repute, a masterful time keeper who can combine finesse with power whenever needed. "The Return" has a myriad of neo-classical flourishes (nice violin) as well as a swirling Moog solo from Roberto Vigo (Hostsonaten). On "Alone" Simona's voice rekindles memories of Beth Gibbons ( Portishead), a breathy yet anguished plea, skimpily dressed up with some dazzling Boris Valle electric piano (that oft venerated Fender Rhodes, such a gorgeous instrument) and minimalist rhythmic backdrops. "Deep Inside" is poppier , short, pleading and somehow fragile . "The House is Burning" features another classic and utterly distinctive keyboard instrument (the Wurlitzer piano), glowing within the realm of a melancholic string quartet and Simona's wailing vocalized pain. Here the aroma of Kate Bush hovers above like some flaming eagle, the strings emoting strongly. "Voices" gets oddly experimental, almost atonal with pitter-patter percussion, loops, and boatloads of shivering violin. Two short pieces follow, encouraging the odder ambiances; "See Through Me" is keyboards and vocals, while the majestic "A Dream Within A Dream" is the string quartet dueling with some keyboard-backing. "Space" is the hot track here, a heady cocktail of modern folk-prog, somewhat more symphonic is scope, with a superb mellotron/ violin barrage that is quite beguiling. New Trolls legendary Vittorio De Scalzi introduces his flute into the next piece, a haunting slice of musical stupor that conjures images of frozen numbness, as the fluttering flute attempts to warm the soul. Very successful piece that blends well into the punchier "Falling Down", a robotic beat that inspires a lack of balance, a metronomic descent into some abyss of doom, with a tinge of unveiled hysteria that has a Kafka-esque feel to it. "The Moon Rises Again" is definitely more upbeat, lush with undisguised hope and exhortations of "I have found myself, again" and providing a sense of easier listening than the previous tracks. The finale "Flow" is the lengthiest piece clocking in at over 7 minutes and is another highlight, a dirge-like electric mood garnished with that darn string quartet appearing again, while Simona wails unabashed and lets her "spirit flow". An amazing cut , that has much spirit and presence.

While a very decent follow up to the Aries debut, I miss that soaring Fabio Centarini lead guitar that is unavailable here and which made the self-titled album such a proggier universe (read longer tracks such as the masterful "When Night is Almost Done", a bewitching 16 minute masterpiece). Needs more spins but a delightful companion to the vibrant Italian scene. 3.5 stars

tszirmay | 3/5 |

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